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Thanks for all the feedback! A lot of that is helpful.
We definitely tackled the family issue in a pre-marital retreat and boundaries have been set and we have open communication about it/have each other’s backs.
I don’t know the rest of the story— I haven't met anyone outside his mom/sister/dad, he hasn't seen any family outside of them since childhood, and it's not my place to fix it. My family is great, so at least we've got that going for us. I think the unopened RSVP from his aunt was a giant F-U to his mom, not us. At least it’s a good story?
Why is he worried to ask a second time?
He thinks she's too busy and doesn't want to stress her out. She's a stay-at-home wife not involved in anything outside the home. I've seen the photos in boxes at their house, so I know they exist.
Basically, that's a great question, lol.
Does your FI have a good relationship with any other family members? If possible, I'd also try reaching out to them and offering to pay to have those pictures shipped to you. An aunt, uncle, or grandmother may be much easier to ask for help.
That's a good idea-- I'll try to see if his sister will be there before the wedding. Thanks, hadn't thought of that!
There wouldn't be any family members outside of that. His aunt (his mom's sister) sent the invitation to us unopened with a note that basically said "Weddings are for people that love and know you and we can't be included in that. Have a nice life." I am not dealing with warm and cuddly people here. She really could have just said "no."
It may not be a possibility, but I fell in love with a dress out of my price range, then bought it on ebay for half the price (it was a used "floor model"). Might be worth a look! I do feel kind of bad about it--the bridal shop wouldn't give me the designer or name of the dress, so a friend took a photo of me in it and stalked the internet to find it. I feel less bad since I told them I only wanted to try dresses $600 and down and they brought me a $1,200 dress to try on without warning me. You could try to find it used. I totally understand the price anxiety--good luck!
I've been a bridesmaid more than 10 times. Almost each time the gift has been the jewelry to wear and something small ( I now have 3 makeup bags with my name on them, lol). Granted, I have given away most of the jewelry after the wedding, but I was OK with wearing it for her pics, etc. I would have loved it if the bride had covered hair and nails! But really, it never occurred to me to expect more or be disappointed.
It's possible we're in a different socioeconomic sphere (I’d say I’m solidly middle-class), and expectations are different, but man, these special gifts seem to just add stress and cost to the wedding. Every time I see a photo of bridal parties in matching robes I think “All that money, just for a few likes on a Facebook photo.”
But, in summary, I know I’m in the minority, but that gift seems more than generous. Weddings have always cost me a bunch of money, and it would have been nice to have that alleviated. I’ve never expected my friend to reflect on our friendship and get me some thoughtful gift. We have the rest of our lives to do that instead of a time they’re probably drowning in debt anyways.
Thanks for all the input! I went with an ivory dress (Maggie Sottero's Elka), but I don't think it will clash too much (and his sister is wearing a dress). Dumb crisis in my head averted .